WOW: Iraqi Army Rescues Western Journalist in Basra
Just mull over the contours of this headline for a few moments:
IRAQI ARMY RESCUES WESTERN JOURNALIST IN BASRA
What is this? I mean, what is this? What’s the right word to describe this?
Is it ‘irony’? Is it the “incongruity between what might be expected to happen and what actually happens” as my little dictionary defines ‘irony’?
Richard Butler, a British journalist working for CBS News, was auspiciously rescued today by an Iraqi Army unit that had been conducting a security sweep through a once-volatile Basra neighborhood—one that was until recently dominated by militants—in which he had been held captive since February 10.
I mean if any event could be seen as a send-up to how western reporters have covered Operation Cavalry Charge in Basra, then this would be it!
Instead of praying for Butler’s safety, instead of taking a stand on right and wrong, the foreign press threw their sympathies behind the outlaws; those western reporters did not hold candle-lit vigils for their kidnapped comrade, since professional solidarity can’t hold a candle to the venality of Bush hatred. It was far more important for these journalists to root for the Sadrist-related criminal cartels that are being targeted by the continuing military operations in Basra and elsewhere than to admit that Iraq may be fixing itself, and may not, after all, turn into the ‘fiasco’ they’ve been heralding with certainty for so long.
Some of these outlaws may very well have been the same killers who’d abducted and murdered Steven Vincent in August 2005. Was Vincent’s blood not enough of a marker to distinguish between the bad guys and the good guys in this battle? Well, clearly not for the likes of Glanz, Raghavan and Ware—who’ve constructed their own psychosomatic brand of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ in Iraq.
This rescue is also a send-up to the British military, cowering as they have been at the periphery of Basra: What have they done to save one of their own? It fell to Iraqi soldiers, the same ones the Brits were ridiculing as inept and gutless to whichever journalist would jot such rancor down, to bail out one of Her Majesty’s abandoned subjects.
I wonder how all this will be spun in tomorrow’s editions. For the time being, we can all warm up to the glow of this happy ending.